With the Stormwatch deluxe set on the horizon for this summer, what better time to have a look at this next book in the excellent On Track series, dealing with the canon of the mighty Tull.
As with the previous books, this looks at each album song by song, including compilations and Ian Anderson’s solo efforts, giving a brief but informative summary of each piece. The author provides some interesting insights into both music and lyrics for this most quintessentially English of bands, whose catalogue veers from blues to prog to folk to rock as the years pass. I’m primarily a fan of their seventies work really, from Benefit through to Stormwatch, although that’s certainly not to dismiss the earlier and later albums – I have a lot of time for the Broadsword album, in my opinion the last great Tull record, although oddly the author is quite dismissive of it. He is quite good on the merits of the later albums from Crest onwards, which I must confess I haven’t listened to more than a handful of times each – indeed, the book has inspired me to give a second chance to albums like Catfish Rising, Roots To Branches and JTull.com to see if I missed anything first time around. The author does make an interesting claim that Anderson’s solo works TAAB 2 and Homo Erraticus are as good, if not better than, any Tull album after Stormwatch. I’m not sure I totally agree with that – TAAB 2 is a bit patchy for me, although it does have its moments, but certainly Homo Erraticus is a fine piece of work and is perhaps the pick of the bunch from Anderson’s later years. The book is comprehensive overall, but it does fall down on its coverage of the excellent series of standard setting deluxe reissues, which it really rather skimps over, doing little more than listing the contents of each one, when I would have though there was scope for a much more in depth look. Nevertheless, I did enjoy the book as a whole, a very pleasant way to pass a few hours on a sunny Bank Holiday afternoon, and of course there’s still Ian Anderson’s official Tull book to look forward to towards the end of the year.
Length of Read:Short
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
I’d certainly recommend this for fans, especially as there aren’t too many books around on this influential and quite unique band, but, as with all these books, it’s not really aimed at non – converts.
One thing you’ve learned
Looking at the upcoming releases in this ongoing series, similar titles on Genesis, Crimson, Zappa, The Moody Blues and Steely Dan, to name just a few, are on their way in the coming months.(The publisher’s official store over at Burning Shed usually has stock several weeks before Amazon.)